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Recruitment Planning: 11 Steps To Build Your Team

Published: Nov 24th, 2023

Recruiting top talent is an ongoing challenge for all companies. As the competition for the best and brightest hits an all-time high, organizations need a structured process to ensure they’re doing everything they can to build capable teams that will drive the company forward.

What organizations need to succeed is a recruitment plan.

What is recruitment planning?

Recruitment planning is when a company outlines the process they’ll follow to bring on new employees. It charts out each step of the hiring process, beginning with identifying the company’s talent needs and ending with a fully onboarded employee.

In established organizations with a minimum of 50+ employees, HR will probably be responsible for managing recruitment planning. In smaller companies like startups, managers, executives, or even founders may lead recruiting efforts. The point is, every company — big or small — needs a recruitment plan.

Why is recruitment planning important?

Across the U.S., we’re going through what’s known as the Great Resignation. Right now, 41% of workers across the globe are considering quitting. As our workplaces emerge from the pandemic and remote work becomes the norm, more opportunities are available for top talent. This is great for employees but not for employers.

A survey by The Harvard Business Review showed that some companies had seen 100% attrition since the beginning of the pandemic. Many HR managers are struggling with a churn rate that’s “unrelenting.”

What does this mean for your recruitment strategy? Many of your current employees (3 quarters according to a Joblist report) are considering quitting. If you don’t have a recruitment plan, your company will quickly run into a talent shortage.

But with a recruitment program in place, hiring managers and HR teams have a clear list of steps to follow in order to fill their current openings and meet future talent needs.

11 steps to creating an effective recruiting plan

A successful recruiting plan provides clarity and guidance for assessing talent needs and attracting top candidates. Here are 11 steps to building an effective recruiting plan:

1. Identify your hiring needs

The goal of a recruiting plan seems straightforward: attract and hire candidates in a timely manner. But a strategic recruitment plan of action goes deeper into the reasons behind hiring. What’s the purpose of filling each role?

For instance, are you scaling quickly and need more hands on deck? Or are there skill gaps on your team you need to fill? Perhaps you want to diversify your workforce and seek out veterans or employees from minority backgrounds?

Your recruitment planning will look different depending on your answers to those questions.

2. Create a hiring plan and recruitment calendar

After you determine the goals of recruiting, you need to establish a timeline. Consider your growth targets and forecast where the company will be at that time. Estimate how many positions you’ll need to fill over that time and what those positions are.

On average, 43% of job postings are filled within the first 30 days. However, research by Indeed reveals that after 30 days, the posting will likely struggle over the next three months.

Recruitment Timing | JobFairX

To avoid that interest lag, map out your next three quarters on a calendar. List the positions you plan to fill with totals for each quarter. Doing this will give you an idea of how much time will be needed for the following steps in your recruitment plan.

3. Leverage the right tools

Every HR team will have a tech stack for recruiting. An effective hiring strategy will leverage the following tools to source the right candidates:

Using these recruitment planning and implementation tools, HR teams can connect with more candidates, keep their conversations organized, and keep the hiring process seamless.

4. Know your budget for recruitment costs

It takes time and resources to find, attract, interview, recruit, and onboard employees. Research provides a range of data for how much recruiting costs:

Compare these studies with your own hiring costs to find an appropriate range. Research on how long it takes a new hire to reach full productivity shows a range of 8 to 26 weeks. Make sure to factor this into your estimated cost.

Write a compelling job description

What’s in a job description? Probably your bridge to your next great employee. But it’s not just a one-and-done task. A survey by Indeed found that 65% of job postings were revised within the same year. This indicates that most job descriptions aren’t getting it right the first time.

To avoid extra work, make sure to include the following in your job descriptions:

  • Ask an employee who has the same or a similar position to help you write the description.
  • Include compensation or a salary range. Indeed’s survey revealed that almost a quarter of respondents see compensation as the most important part of the job description.
  • Include the must-haves and special requirements of the job, like working nights or weekends to weed out unqualified applicants.
  • Don’t inflate the job requirements into an overwhelming list.
  • Include a summary of your company culture to make the posting more personal.
  • Outline the benefits and perks of the position.
  • Specify if it’s a remote, hybrid, or in-person role.

Following these recruitment planning strategies will help you attract more qualified candidates.

Decide how to find the right candidates

To find the right job candidates for your organization, you need to spread a wide net. Try many, if not all of the following:

  • Social media
  • Hiring platforms
  • Hiring events
  • Personal and employee networks
  • Staffing services

You’ll increase the likelihood of finding the right candidate if you leverage all available channels.

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The right recruitment metrics can help you continuously improve your hiring cost, speed, and quality. What gets measured gets improved."

Some channels are better than others. Job fairs, for example, will attract individuals who are actively looking for a new position. In contrast, reaching out to individuals on social media platforms may catch them at the wrong time.

Have a clear selection process

Your recruitment plan for hiring should include an outline for how you will select and interview candidates. Some steps may include:

  • A pre-screening phone call
  • A first-round interview with a recruiter or manager
  • A second-round interview with the manager and future coworkers
  • A final round interview with executives and managers

For each of these steps, your recruiting plan should outline the structure of the interview. For example, during the pre-screening phone call, what questions will you ask?

Set diversity targets and avoid bias

A crucial part of your recruiting plan is setting diversity targets and establishing measures that mitigate bias. Not only is this the right thing to do, but there’s a strong business case for building a diverse workforce:

  • Employees who believe their company to be diverse and equitable experience an 83% improvement in their ability to innovate.
  • Companies earn 30% higher revenues when implementing inclusive talent practices.
  • Gender-diverse and ethnically diverse companies are 15% and 35% more likely to outperform competitors.

So how can your recruitment planning help build a diverse organization? You can attend diversity-focused job fairs or source applicants on job boards that highlight minority candidates. 

Sourcing the right applicants is the first step. The next is to avoid bias during the hiring process. Many studies reveal that bias silently undermines many of our hiring practices — sometimes unbeknownst to us.

Gail Tolstoi-Miller, CEO of Consultnetworkx, addressed stereotypical hiring practices in her TEDx talk. She shares her personal story of being subject to bias while interviewing for a job, as well as confronting her own bias when she began hiring others.

Going further, HBR has a case study on how Accenture — a Fortune Global 500 company — set and reached internal diversity goals. To summarize the case study, Accenture followed five steps:

  1. Choose diversity goals that dovetail with your team’s communities.
  2. Hire based on skills rather than education.
  3. Leverage the link between location and education. Near your workplaces, how many residents have bachelor’s degrees, and what’s the ethnic demographic there?
  4. Rigorously test your goals to ensure they’re reasonable and accurate. Use attrition levels, ethnic/racial mix, and recruitment trajectories to verify that your organization is on target.
  5. Use apprenticeship programs to build your own pipeline.

Following these recruitment planning steps helps Accenture build a more diverse workforce.

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A strong recruitment plan has a clear list of next steps to take after a job offer is made. Choose between calls, emails, and preboarding methods."

Define next steps after sending an offer

Your recruitment action plan should outline the steps recruiters will follow when making an offer. Will you call or email them to give them the good news?

After the initial offer is made, your recruiting plan should include a written contract. You’ll send that contract to the applicant to start the preboarding and onboarding process.

Update and optimize your plan

No plan is perfect, and your hiring plan will change as your company grows and adapts. Make sure you clearly outline your recruiting plan so you can easily make updates.

Leverage feedback from your applicants. Consider sending out anonymous surveys, asking applicants how the interview process went and if there were any negative or positive experiences. This information is invaluable for your recruiting plan and will only make your process stronger.

Ready to build your recruitment plan?

Developing a recruitment plan will make your hiring process more efficient at finding top talent. With clearly outlined steps, recruiters can ensure they don’t miss any important tasks. A smooth hiring process will improve the candidate experience, which will further help in attracting in-demand employees.

Organizations that want to hire better quality candidates faster (and without breaking the bank) should spend more time on recruitment planning. They stand to experience myriad benefits, and the most important is finding better hires.